Caixin
Jun 15, 2021 04:24 PM

Australian Science Agency Nixes Tie-Up With Chinese Lab Over Submarine Warfare Concerns

What’s new: Australia’s national science agency has decided to end its research partnership with a top Chinese lab next year, following a warning that the tie-up could impact the country’s national security, according to the Australian media.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) won’t renew its research partnership with the Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology after its five-year term ends in June 2022, The Australian newspaper reported late last week.

The decision came a few weeks after Mike Burgess, director-general of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization, called on research organizations to reconsider ocean temperature modelling partnerships with foreign scientists, warning they could be used to support submarine operations against Australia, the report said.

CSIRO informed its Chinese partner about the cancellation on Thursday, the report said. The two sides launched the research partnership in 2017, hosted at CSIRO’s Centre for Southern Hemisphere Oceans Research.

The Qingdao lab hasn’t publicly responded to CSIRO’s decision.

The background:  The news comes at a frosty time for China-Australia relations, which have been troubled by a range of issues, including national security concerns, trade disputes and the Covid-19 pandemic.

In April, Australia canceled agreements that the Victoria state government had made under China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Beijing urged Canberra to withdraw the decision, with the foreign ministry describing the move as “political manipulation and irrational behavior.”

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use.

Contact reporter Cai Xuejiao (xuejiaocai@caixin.com) and editor Joshua Dummer (joshuadummer@caixin.com)

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